Growing up, we did all the normal Christmas-y things. My dad strung colorful lights around the garage and up the walkway to the front door. We hauled our artificial plastic tree down from the rafters, putting it together like a jigsaw puzzle, then filling every square inch with ornaments galore.
We decorated the house with angels and snowmen and these cute little Santa figurines frozen in all different silly poses–a gift from Melissa Gilbert for our first Christmas on the set of Little House on the Prairie.
We made sugar cookies and caramel corn. On night-time drives, we counted the houses all lit up in our neighborhood and across town, keeping a record until Christmas Eve. Side note… I remember us kids asking once if we might be able to cut down a real one from the Christmas tree farm in town. No luck, the plastic tree was cleaner and cheaper—I don’t think I even knew what Christmas pine smelled like back then.
Most of my friends did the same Christmas-y things… well maybe not the plastic tree. One thing I know for sure, none of them had ever tasted Cranberry Tea. It was something that only happened at our house and goes back generations to my grandmother’s family in Minnesota.
Grandma Lou had a white enamel pot with a lid and a spout. She called it her Cranberry Tea pot. During the Christmas season the pot lived on the back burner of her stove, filling the house with the sweet scent of cinnamon and cloves. It’s a classier version of apple cider with a much more festive red hue. When she passed away, the pot went to my mom. It took residence on the back burner of her stove during the holidays.
Every year we unpacked a box of tall glass mugs with little Christmas trees on them—the Cranberry Tea mugs. I remember coming home from school all cold inside, the steam rising from the pot and the glass mugs just waiting to be filled.
The years have gone by, and now I’m the one with the Cranberry Tea pot occupying the back left burner on my stove-top. It was a gift from my mom six years ago, the December after I had brain surgery. A complete surprise and one of my favorite possessions.
Since then, Cranberry Tea has been a given during the month of December. It’s one of the few Christmas traditions that stuck from my side of the family. Funny side note… my husband doesn’t like it. The rest of us scoff at him and heat up another round.
No matter what Christmas traditions you grew up with, they were made by repetition. Doing something over and over again, cementing the activity into every future December.
This year of 2021, a whole crew of people joined me in reading through the Bible with the BibleProject. A few chapters a day filled our hearts with stories of God’s extravagant love and His BIG-time Grace. The private Facebook Group committed to reading Genesis – Revelation and we’ve almost reached our goal.
What if we made a tradition out of reading God’s Word? What if that tradition happened every single day? Just think of the encouragement, the peace we could hold onto throughout the entire year?
Will you consider joining us for another year of digging into God’s Word? The reading plan is going to look different in 2022, but the BIG-time Grace Facebook Group will continue to be a community of people striving to know God better. Learning how to love God and love people with all our hearts.
And now the real question… have you ever tasted Cranberry Tea? Why not make a pot and see if it might find a permanent home on your stove. Cranberry Tea Recipe for you!
What’s the one Christmas tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season in your home? I’d love to hear and maybe add one of your traditions to our annual celebration.
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